Westport Historical Society Speaker Series

All Library locations will be closed on Monday, September 1, in observance of Labor Day.

Bill Bundschu discusses his book Abuse and Murder on the Frontier, which chronicles the story of Rebecca Hawkins, a woman put on trial in 1838 for the poisoning and murder of her abusive husband.
Saturday, May 10, 2014
2:00pm @ Westport Branch

The Westport Historical Society and the Westport Branch Library present William (Bill) Bundschu: Abuse and Murder on the Frontier

Second Saturday Speaker Series, May 10th, 2014 @ 2:00pm
Westport Branch Library, 118 Westport Road
Speaker's reception follows at the Harris Kearney House, 40th & Baltimore

Title of Talk: "Abuse and Murder on the Frontier"

Summary: William (Bill) Bundschu will review his book Abuse and Murder on the Frontier on May 10th at 2:00pm at the Westport Branch Library. Bundschu's book chronicles the story of Rebecca Hawkins, who was put on trial in 1838 for the poisoning and murder of her abusive husband, a farmer and grist mill operator on the Little Blue River in Jackson County.

Rebecca was convicted of her husband's poisoning, but her accomplice and neighbor Henry Garster was convicted of his murder. Garster was hanged on the Temple Lot in Independence, the first legal hanging in Jackson County.

The book details the life and travels of Rebecca in Missouri and across the United States.

Bio: Bill lives in Independence, MO with his wife Betty. He became interested in early American History while bicycling over 53,000 miles through the Oregon Trail, Santa Fe Trail, Natchez Trace, Blue Ridge Parkway, C & O Canal, and Route 66.

Bill published his first book in 2000, Karl Gregor Bundschu, To and In America: 1851-1892. Abuse and Murder on the Frontier: The Trials and Travels of Rebecca Hawkins was published in 2003, and Bill's latest book is The A.J. Bundschu Company, The Dominant Store of Independence which was published in 2005. He has also authored several historical and law journal articles over the years.

Bill received a Master of Arts in History degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in December 2004 and is currently a member of the Jackson County Historical Society and the Heritage League of Kansas City.